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Where do I begin and end?

 

An interesting exercise I like to go through is to think about where I start and end.

From a purely physical point of view, is my body a part of me? If I answer "yes", where does my body begin?

What are my physical boundaries?

 

I suppose it is obvious to some that my body has a torso, head, arms, legs etc. What about my hair and nails? They are part of my body and grow from my body, but what about after I have shed them? Are they still part of me then?

What about the food I eat? Is it a part of me before I eat it? Is it a part of me while I am digesting it? What about my waste? Is it a part of me while I carry it inside my body? If so, is it still part of me after I have expelled it?

Is my boundary defined as my skin edges? What about the warmth my body generates that surrounds me? Is that part of me? My breath?

What about my senses? What are my senses? Are they also bound to the perception of the "external"? If I see and hear and taste and smell, are the sensations part of me? Does that extend to the source of the perception? I can see the Sun, where does the sun end and "me" begin? I can hear a long way into the distance, does the sound I perceive exist without me perceiving it? If not, does that make it part of me?

 

What of my memories? What of others' memories of me? Are memories of me part of me? If I existed at all and memories are part of me, can I ever be non existent?

 

When did I begin as a body? I was born, but I grew into a body before I was born. The parts that came together to create my body existed before I was created in my parents, and their parents before them...

 

When does my body stop being part of me? When I die? If so, is my body like my hair and nails and waste? Part of me until I shed it? If so, is my body me at all if I can shed it and still exist? 

 

I don't have any answers.

 

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Great question Glaukus,

 

When I started reading I thought you were going to discuss the sense of "me" in a metaphysical sense. like am I the sum of all my relationships, interaction and personality traits, questions of the soul etc but I like how you have approached this reasoning of me from the physical world.

 

I suppose I can have a go at the questions as far as the entity that is "me" comprehends them:

 

What are my physical boundaries?  good starting point, I would say that me is the physical body only, however I would also impose a buffer of personal space that is someone was in it I'd say it was me/mine. Generally it's closeness but maybe these days me is my body and my 1.5m social distance.

What about my hair and nails?  definitely still part of me, even after they are shed they are just parts of you that you left behind. There is "me" in the dust on top of the shelves where I work and in my house

What about the food I eat? I would say no. there's food before during and after consumption that isn't you, only the moment a nutrient is absorbed do I believe it becomes part of me.

Is my boundary defined as my skin edges? as above, but further to breath I would say yes, from the perspective of the particles until they dissipate or dry up.

What about my senses? What are my senses?  Electrical impulses decoded by the brain. your reaction to the stimuli is you not the stimuli itself. There is something beautiful about a song played only to me though, is it mine or is it them?

2 hours ago, Glaukus said:

What of my memories? What of others' memories of me? Are memories of me part of me? If I existed at all and memories are part of me, can I ever be non existent?

This is pure poetry and really got my mind ticking over, Yours cease to exist before your body does. I love to think that memories of you still constitute you. A romantic notion probably not in line with my previous debate.

When did I begin as a body? Conception.

When does my body stop being part of me? when you return to the earth. When pharaohs are exhumed and bones found I would say that that is still them/me. If I am cremated, the ashes are me.

 

In that sense immortality as me exists in the elements we comprise then yes, as we are all created from the same matter, and return to the same matter. Then there is no "me" there is only "us"

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Thanks for your thoughtful and considered reply. I should add that I'm not seeking answers to these questions. I welcome responses though! I just thought I'd share in case someone else found it helpful, I sometimes go through this when I'm feeling ungrounded and anxious.

The physical is easier to explore this way because you perceive the physical. If we were to perform the same exercise for mental processes it becomes more difficult. But it's equally worthwhile to ponder. Eg. Am I my thoughts? If so, who is it that thinks them? When I talk to myself in my head, who is speaking? And who is listening? Etc.

 

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Haha yeah sorry with the Q&A style response, the process was as much about me working through them in my own head as it was about giving a reply.

 

I don't claim to have any answers and I very much enjoyed the question.

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Posted (edited)

Is the clear light in the head you? The secret of the golden flower says that the heavenly heart is the “me” in the head where vision comes from.

 

after focusing on this point for around 100 days you develop true yang. It awakens kundalini blah blah kundalini gives you self realisation.. according to yogas of India, union with the self is union with God. Ei you are God.. just bound by illusions youve set up yourself..

 

Sri Ramana Maharashi said this method will lead to samadhi (union with God) but.. you wont answer the question “Who am I?” Self enquiry/atman vichara is a different enlightenment i guess.

 

Maharshi claimed to be in sahaja samadhi. The golden flower must only take one to the state of nirvikalpa which you must come down from. Sahaja is where you are always enlightened with bliss beyond human comprehension.. because you are God. Not just an ego feeling one with God.

 

In alchemical terms, they speak of the body as part of the soul... so when you eat and then it leaves your body as waste.. time is an illusion right? Does that mean space is an illusion?

 

i think the dimensions of “me” are limited by mind. The dimensions of true being arent graspable by human intelligent... so we must come to higher consciousness where mind is just a tool. 
 

if everything in reality is just what it is, reality, then... we are both in reality infinite and limited by our definitions we have of reality and especially ourselves.

 

added edit: when you look at an object.. is that you?

Edited by Meditator
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i've been pondering this all week...

 

And I think it's actually quite simple: anything that doesn't/wouldn't exist without me is me.  An 'extension' of me without wanting to sound cliche.

 

The original idea came to me after I had just walked across a dew-covered park one morning.  When I looked back and saw my footsteps, I could see and feel me and my life leading back from where I'd come from.

 

So yes to all those things man. Memories too. Even your breath god dammit! :)

 

I'm thinking this is a probably a bastardisation of the quantum physics theory of 'entanglement'.

 

Lastly, it's important to also differentiate between "me" and "you".  Just because I have a memory of you in my head - which is an extension of you - we are not the same or necessarily one.  Rather a small piece of you lives inside me.  (Trapped perhaps :)).

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5 hours ago, SayN said:

i've been pondering this all week...

 

And I think it's actually quite simple: anything that doesn't/wouldn't exist without me is me.  An 'extension' of me without wanting to sound cliche.

 

The original idea came to me after I had just walked across a dew-covered park one morning.  When I looked back and saw my footsteps, I could see and feel me and my life leading back from where I'd come from.

 

So yes to all those things man. Memories too. Even your breath god dammit! :)

 

I'm thinking this is a probably a bastardisation of the quantum physics theory of 'entanglement'.

 

Lastly, it's important to also differentiate between "me" and "you".  Just because I have a memory of you in my head - which is an extension of you - we are not the same or necessarily one.  Rather a small piece of you lives inside me.  (Trapped perhaps :)).

"Me" and "you" = "we"

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A little reductionist but...

IMG_20210502_173021.thumb.jpg.ece4a6ebb9e0607069a8e27c055589c8.jpg

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On 28/04/2021 at 4:23 PM, fyzygy said:

Many of these same questions are discussed in a book called The Vedas and Upanishads for Children. (In the Upanishads section). 

https://au1lib.org/s/vedas upanishads children

 

 

Good answer, no matter what the question! :lol:

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My $0.02:

physicalist philosophy is the dumbest thing ive heard in my entire life. 
although ive intentified as consciousness since i was in 5th grade.. it was clear as day to me. Not based on mind alone either. Theory is different from experience. These “scientists” are reductionists.

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I once had a pretty disturbing realization one day how "I" am actually 100% isolated/insulated from the real world around me.

The only way others can perceive "me" is by my influence and puppeteering of a phsyical medium and the same is true for me with others, I try not to think about this.

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Posted (edited)
On 28/04/2021 at 9:38 AM, Glaukus said:

Where do I begin and end?

...

What are my physical boundaries?

 

this question reminds me of the coastline paradox

 

(From Wikipedia:) "The coastline paradox is the counterintuitive observation that the coastline of a landmass does not have a well-defined length. This results from the fractal curve-like properties of coastlines, i.e., the fact that a coastline typically has a fractal dimension (which in fact makes the notion of length inapplicable)."

 

my take: the answer is constrained by the yard-stick you're using

Edited by saguaro
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Me exists in dreaming.. deep sleep does not imply annihilation. Death does not imply annihilation as we do not know that questions answer.

 

Do you remember your first memory? I swear on my life i remember my first and it wasnt through my eyes. Looking down on who i was told to believe are my mum and dad…

 

That’s superfluous 

 

before birth, we incarnate (science and spirituality aside) into this form. Whether the brain creates our perception of reality through generation of consciousness or as a lot of scientists believe now, the brain is a reciever, is besides the point and with mine here.. the brain might be a limiter as well as a reciever (or generator even.. just lowered state of consciousness through identifications ect) in that we forget who we truely are. Our essence. Maybe we are eternal and thats why a lot of savants generate mental phenomena (such as synesthesia as well) that are incredible on the processing level. Most savants aquired their gifts through brain damage lol

 

if we are in this 3rd dimension of space, maybe we are limited by our human brain/mind. 
 

lets say flatlanders are actually us.. our minds simply cannot comprehend our ultimate truth so simply. What if its true that (hypothetical because i could counter this argument so many damn ways) there are infinite dimensions. Right now someone (myself which is kind of bent) might say:

“well why isnt the sun turning green right now, maybe me saying it turned it green?”

 

schizophreniclly talking back to myself id say:

”maybe it is green now. Maybe it always has been and our minds dont let us comprehend higher truth.”

 

 

Now what im getting at is, maybe our individual higher internal dimensions are even beyond any simple idea of self. Maybe we are everything.. and nothing. Which could be too simple because those are both mental concepts. 
 

the truth of what a sentient being is would ultimately come down to the simple fact of what could be called “sentient nature”. 
 

if the brain implies your existence. Then it is a part of you. But whos to say before birth you were no more than a thought? Too damn simple.

 

our ultimate nature might be infinite beyond the human mind. Artificial intelligence and mind seem too close. There is definitely more to the sentient mind. 
 

physicalism cannot explain time and colour perception.. any perception... Let alone what a sentient person is. 
if we knew the brain limited us from perception of infinity and whats beyond (psychedelics prove this quuiite well through inhibition of the default mode network ect..) in a much more realistic way, i think people would be a lot more enlightened so to speak….. Common beliefs in the collective unconscious may be a theory… theres truth to it.

 

edit for elaboration: say we have more spacial dimensions.. we cannot percieve them. Our brain cannot comprehend them possibly. Thats why synchronicities happen lets say. Maybe weed is from a higher dimension slightly to a dimension curve we cannot comprehend.. and different strains have different curves… while LSD has a hypercube that warps in a different time dimension. Our sentient mind can grasp this essence of reality. Maybe the sharp hyperspacial corners cut our higher-mind and thats why we can have flashbacks…… food for thought

Edited by Meditator
Elaboration
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Appreciate your thoughtful reply meditator.

What about the cases of people with multiple personality disorders I wonder? Or people suffering a schizophrenic fugue state? Or those who dementia or other degenerative brain disorders?

I wonder where their "self" begins and ends. What happens at the end of life for someone in one of these states?

I fear, due to genetics beyond my control, I am highly likely to experience fronto-temporal lobe dementia later in my life. These are all things I ponder. 

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Same my bro, im gonna have dementia from the looks of things lol (on this note antipsychotics dont help.. brain atrophy) i just got out of a psych ward and a guy jumped the fence to get a feed, two days later i had tobacco in the place and then asked someone “wheres Will? He has my papers.”  
 

they replied that he jumped the fence two days ago… i actually saw him jump too.. after laughing at the situation and then myself it occured to me im going to have bad memory as its only getting worse. 
 

i can remember scientific and spiritual things well but damn everyday life must bore my selective attention/memory..

 

if the brain is a limiter and also the storage, the tomb/samadhi of death is going to liberate the ultimate essence once again. 
Traditions who believe in reincarnation and meditative trance talk of memory of remembering past lives. Thats beyond genetics and matter. I dont call bullshit. Or false memory.

 

my kensho experience led to a ripple of another kensho.. i believed i was dying so intensely i felt the source of the consciousness. Intense power, yet my weak human nature couldnt handle the electricity.. was incredible to feel. Being electricuted by your own spirit. Kundalini phenomena? Either way my mind died 80 percent and i let my ego remain to feel the shock. 
 

what im getting at is the zero point is probably spirit so untapped by matter because this limited dimension cannot comprehend the power of what is beyond. We come from beyond. Id argue that till death. Ironically enough hahaha

 

 

edit: in Alchemical knowledge (Kabbalah as well i would assume since theyre similar sciences..) they speak of the soul being destructible, while spirit is not.. now some say the ego (you could say your limited consciousness unaware of the majority of your spirit) is the soul. Some identify the soul as consciousness itself. My input is, Jewish Cabalists seem to say the ego is the soul. Spirit is not ego. What i experienced in my second kensho was much more powerful. No emotion. Spiritual electricity. 
 

fire/plasma is based off of electron activity.. fire is spirit usually. The egoic mind identifies emotions as inherently its own.  Water is symbolic of emotion. So maybe this is why killing your ego makes spirit more powerful? 
 

different systems have different ideas, im just spamming what i feel is truely relevant here.

Edited by Meditator
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